Jun 9, 2012

Going Virtual at Bead & Button

I'm going to Bead & Button  -- virtually!

As an artist whose disability can limit me at times from socializing, being left out of community art events & classes can feel pretty alienating. But the jewelry arts community is awesome, and more often than not, I find the coolest events & learning courses are shared online, and going virtual is a great way to participate in the community. So if you, like me, aren't off to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the largest consumer bead show in the world, that's OK. I'd love for you to come with me! 

Lauren Andersen
First, there's the unexpected. 

I've discovered the answer to the legendary chainmaille bikini that Lauren Andersen said is rumored to exist -- it does exist!  

And it's at Bead & Button! 
Now through June 9th, you can vote for it (or your favorite design) to be in the annual Bead & Button show gallery, Bead Dreams.

"Burlesque Bikini"

 The chainmaille bikini, entitled "Burlesque Bikini" is a People's Choice entry in the Bead Dreams contest. It's one of many stunning entries -- the finalist designs are some the most exclusive and beautiful work I've ever seen! The catagories are diverse: objects or accessories, lampwork/glass, metal clay, finished jewelry, seed bead jewelry, polymer clay, crystal jewelry, wirework, and of course, handmade beads & buttons. But for the People's Choice Award, only one finalist from all catagories will be chosen by the most votes.

"Viking Knit: Beyond the Vortex Garden"
And so, there's the beautiful. 

Bead & Button wanted to make sure everyone could vote, whether attending the show in person or not, and the People's Choice design finalists can be viewed online. You'll discover some of the finest jewelry designs in the world, like this beautiful design by Stephanie Eddy, "Viking Knit: Beyond the Vortex Garden" to inspire you! The winner will be chosen by those attending the show and by us. So check out the finalists and cast your vote. The winner will be announced on Sunday, the last day of the show. 

And then, of course, there's the fun and funny. How about some souvenirs?

Key Lime v-neck nightshirt

 We could pick up a soft and comfy "Knot Tonight: I'm beading" nightshirt for giggles.  Or, how about a Bead & Button polka dot canvas rolling carry bag? 

Craftician bag w/ Polka Dots 

Or a purple craftician bag with green & yellow polka dots for organizing our tools and beads?  

This year the Bead & Button mascot, Keishi, reminds all to "string your dreams" as she graces the back of the kelly green commemorative t-shirt.

Photo of Keishi from Bead & Button Show on FB. I like it;)

"String your Dreams" 2012 B&B Show t-shirt

Souvenirs for 2012 are available at the B&B store, or contact B&B by emailing customerservice@beadandbutton.com after the show ends. You'll also find a treasure of retro Bead & Button souvenirs at the Kalmbachstore, including mugs and caps, Keishi t-shirts from '10 and '11 shows, commemorative beads, and "Knot tonight" sleepshirts in additional colors.

Together, we can "Bead it Forward" too.

Although submissions for bead squares ended on March 1 of this year, we can still support cancer research with the "Bead It Forward Quilt Project" and create many of the beautiful patterns.

The 2011-12 theme is "Birds" and artists have generously shared their patterns for pink flamingos, cardinals, and  parrots with Bead & Button online. 

© Chris Franchetti Michaels
We birds of a feather can even make "Two Owls Bead it Forward" peyote stitch square donated to the quilt by "About.com Beadwork's"

 And we can donate year round to "Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer" with $5, $10 or $20 donations through the Bead & Button Show online. 

 So let's celebrate beads!

"Hanabi" Bead

This year, Bead & Button commissioned artist Michael Barley, a co-instructor for the Glass Master Class 201, to create the commemorative 
bead. Barley is reminded of fireworks in the blue & green star burst pattern of his bead, calling it "Hanabi" meaning fireworks or literally, "fire flower" in Japanese. 

"If Courage Was A Bead" (Photograph Toltec Jewels)
It's just one of the many special beads that will be found and treasured by beadcombers at the Bead and Button marketplace. 

Yet even if we aren't browsing the floor, we can still find special and unique beads to treasure, like this bead entitled "If Courage Was A Bead" designed by Danielle Samsury, Beads of Courage member at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and created by Bead Artist Maureen McRorie, of Flame Tree Glass

"Courage" is one of ten beads designed by members of the Beads of Courage Program in a design challenge, and created by glass artists. Each bead costs $25, and just one bead supports a child through their healing journey. Beads of Courage are beads that help children cope with serious illnesses.

Every bead tells a story of strength, honor, and hope.

And so as we come together as a community of jewelry artisans, beaders, and bead artists -- whether we are with each other literally at the world's largest bead show or whether we are together as  virtual friends -- let's celebrate the beads we love and those we love, cherishing all we share.

Thanks for coming along ! 

If you are a jewelry artisan who like to become more involved with Beads of Courage, please join us in the June 2012 Beads of Courage jewelry making challenge at Jewel School Friends on Facebook.


  1. Very cool! I bought one of those Beads of Courage challenge beads!

  2. I'm so excited you bought one of the BOC beads!! OMG, I love your work so much, Lori, and can't wait to see what you create with your bead! You rock :)


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